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Magees seeing double on the football field

Michelle (left) and Emma Magee are hoping to reach Croke Park with Antrim by beating Louth in Clones Michelle (left) and Emma Magee are hoping to reach Croke Park with Antrim by beating Louth in Clones
By Staff Reporter

SPORTING sisters Emma and Michelle Magee will be doubling up today (Saturday) and not just in the sense of being multi-talented siblings who play two sports.

Last month the pair shone in the green dress of Northern Ireland at the Netball World Cup in Liverpool, but now their focus is firmly fixed on reaching Gaelic football finals on two fronts.

The Magees are only one step away from an All-Ireland Junior final at Croke Park with Antrim and likewise, within just 60 minutes of football of another Down decider with their club Carryduff.

The fact that they are involved with two different counties at representative and club level has produced a scheduling headache however, with both semis set to take place on the same day.

First up is the All-Ireland Junior Championship semi-final in Clones when Ulster third tier title winners Antrim tackle their Leinster counterparts Louth (1pm).

However, if the Saffrons can clinch their tickets to next month’s All-Ireland finals day at Croke Park, any celebrations by the Magees will have to be put on hold.

Emma and Michelle won’t have much time to recover from their earlier exertions before taking the field again at Saval outside Newry when Carryduff face Ballymartin in the Down Senior Championship semi-final (6.30pm).

It will be a demanding day but the Magees have youth on their side and Emma (21) and Michelle (19) are well used to punishing schedules as international netballers.

The recent Netball World Cup saw the NI Warriors play seven matches in nine days and of course Emma memorably doubled up on one occasion already this summer which also featured tomorrow lunchtime’s venue of St Tiernach’s Park.

After playing the first two quarters of a training game between Northern Ireland’s netballers and the Isle of Man in Lisburn, she made the dash to Clones and came on just before half-time to help Antrim turn around a deficit to defeat Fermanagh in the Ulster Junior final on June 30.

Antrim since lost to the Ernewomen in the All-Ireland series so finished as runners-up in their group and now meet Louth in the last four with Fermanagh facing London in the second semi-final at Clones.

Coming second in their group has had the silver lining of giving the Magees a little more breathing space tomorrow than if they had topped the table and had to play later in the afternoon before joining their Carryduff clubmates.

Although then just 17, the younger sibling Michelle, who won two Ulster Schools All Stars, played a starring role when Carryduff made history by claiming their first ever Mourne county title in 2017.

They lost their crown to local rivals Bredagh last season and the two outfits are on course for a 2019 showpiece showdown as the south Belfast club will be fancied to beat RGU Downpatrick in tomorrow’s first semi at Drumnaquoile (5.30pm).

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